The disciples and the early church worked to spread the Gospel message around the world. Their methods were not limited to weekly gatherings in churches; the message was disseminated through relationships. As Christians, we should work to extend the church experience beyond the confines of time and space in a building to an involved community that provides 24/7 support, not only to members but also to our broader contacts.
To be effective, churches should cultivate and nurture healthy communities, both analog and digital. With analog communities and digital communities within the church and in the community, we better position ourselves to provide a ministry of healing and broad networks of support.
But how can we build community online? How can we serve others in the digital space? Whether you are tech savvy or not, you and your church can implement these ideas right now.
Community building in the digital space works in much the same way as in the physical world. Digital tools simply allow us to scale up friendship evangelism, but this requires getting out of our comfort zone and being intentional about interacting with people, paying attention and following up in meaningful ways.
MEET TOGETHER IN THE DIGITAL SPACE
With the busyness of life, it can be challenging for many to meet in person. Don’t let that stop you from studying the Bible and praying together. By using video conferencing tools like Zoom, you may find that your attendance or frequency increases now that physical barriers like traffic have been removed.
Create digital content to help people move along their spiritual journey. We should endeavor to put Christ on display every day through our digital influence, not just one day a week. We should create digital content that speaks to the spiritual needs of people and seeks to address their deepest longings. People search online for answers to their questions; we should be the voice that answers back. Digital content includes sermons and Bible studies that we share online, as well as articles or blogs on our websites and social media channels.
CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRAYER ONLINE
Social media is a powerful tool for soliciting prayer requests and following up on those requests. Prayer can be just one “like,” comment, or message away. Online communication lowers the barrier to asking, making it easy for people to reach out when they may be reluctant to do so face to face. Visit SDAdata.blog/prayer for more ideas for prayer opportunities in the digital space.
SERVE THE COMMUNITY
Church should be a group of people mobilized to serve, actively engaged in improving the well-being of their broader community. Many of our churches have robust community services departments, but could more be done using digital tools? Visit SDAdata.blog/servingothers for 10 ways to serve your community using digital tools.
MOBILIZE YOUR CONGREGATION
Mobilize your congregation to become a reach vehicle for souls through digital door knocking. Digital door knocking is when a person shares spiritual content on their social media profiles or through messaging and email to create an opportunity for people to engage with them about their faith. Spiritual content can be anything (a picture, text, video, blog, etc.), and should include a personalized message. A person’s connections can scroll past it or choose to engage when it’s convenient for them. Create a culture of sharing and content engagement within your church community. Train your members to share your church’s content (created or curated) on a weekly basis as part of ministry efforts. A congregation that understands the value of participating in ministry this way could serve as a powerful reach vehicle for souls.